Safer Apart Order Extended to May 31

Gov. Ivey, with state Health Office Scott Harris, in a press conference last year. (Source: Hal Yeager, governor’s office).

Gov. Kay Ivey today extended the current coronavirus public health order, which now will be in effect until May 31.

However, the current order, called “Safer Apart,” includes no restrictions on activities of businesses or consumers. Rather, it encourages individuals, employers, and businesses and institutions to follow CDC-recommended public safety practices, such as social distancing and wearing of masks.

The only edicts included in the order are that senior citizen centers continue to follow guidelines issued by the Alabama Department of Senior Services, and hospitals and nursing homes follow visitation guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Among other things, those rules allow up to two visitors or caregivers to be present at a time.

The order also requires people who have COVID-19 to quarantine themselves.

Ivey’s announcement Monday does not affect mask orders passed in several cities. In Birmingham, masks are required in public through May 24.

In her press release announcing her decision, Ivey said: “For over a year now, Alabamians, like people around the globe, have made sacrifices and adjusted to a temporary ‘new normal.’ We have learned much since last year, and this is absolutely now a managed pandemic. Our infection rates and hospitalizations are in better shape, and over 1.5 million Alabamians have had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabamians have consistently stepped up to the plate over the course of this pandemic, and I know they will continue to do so. I am pleased that we have shown the rest of the country that we are gritty and determined. We are signaling loud and clear that Alabama is open, and we are moving forward.”